A perfect regular season is in the offing for No. 22 Texas-San Antonio as it travels north up I-35 to battle North Texas on Saturday afternoon in the teams’ Conference USA finale in Denton, Texas.
The Roadrunners already have clinched the C-USA West Division title and a spot in the league championship game, which UTSA will host on Dec. 3. The Roadrunners will play for their first league title against either Marshall or Western Kentucky.
UTSA (11-0, 7-0 C-USA) had to go to great lengths to get this far, most recently producing a last-second 34-31 home win over Alabama-Birmingham on Nov. 20 to remain undefeated. Frank Harris hit Oscar Cardenas on a 1-yard touchdown pass on the final play after the Roadrunners drove 77 yards in the last 1:03 with no timeouts left.
Harris ended up with 323 yards and three TDs. Sincere McCormick rushed for 65 yards and a score, and Zakhari Franklin caught six passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
UTSA’s 11-game winning streak, its seven wins in seven conference games and nine straight victories at home are all new program marks. The Roadrunners remained at No. 22 in the College Football Playoff rankings for the second consecutive week.
“Let’s be honest: North Texas can ruin our season,” UTSA coach Jeff Traylor said. “They have won four games in a row. They have been beat by good teams. They are hot right now.
“Guess what: We can ruin their season too. That is going to be our mantra: ‘They are going to try to ruin ours, and we are going to try to ruin theirs.’ We are going to stay right there. We are not even discussing (the conference championship). It is 100 percent North Texas.”
The Mean Green (5-6, 4-3) have turned around their season in the past four games — the latest a dominating 49-7 road win over FIU on Nov. 20. After starting the year 1-6, North Texas is now a win away from securing bowl eligibility.
“Anyone who says this isn’t a rivalry game, they’re lying to you,” North Texas coach Seth Littrell said. “That’s why you come to play college football is for games like these, so I know both teams will be excited to go out and compete.
“We have a lot on the line because one more win gets us bowl eligible and gives us an opportunity to win a bowl game. That’ll only make it more special.”
The Mean Green defense is allowing just 306 yards and 15.5 points per game over the last four contests.
“It means a lot, and it just shows we never gave up,” North Texas linebacker KD Davis said. “We got better each week and we’re on a winning streak and this just shows our character.”
The teams have played eight times in their all-time series, with each winning four. North Texas has won three of the four games played in Denton and has captured three of the past four in the series.
–Field Level Media